Pack Your Bags, Maggie Diaz

Scholastic. May 2023. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338818611.
Gr 5 Up–Maggie Diaz is determined to make the last semester of her seventh grade year awesome. After a stressful start, her grades are up, and she is starting track. She and her two best friends are looking forward to the overnight field trip that will take them from their home in Miami to Saint Augustine, Florida. After that, they will go to the seventh grade dance, and most importantly, they will spend more time together! Of course nothing turns out exactly as she imagined, but Maggie learns and grows. Many teens will relate to the common challenges of middle school: first crushes, drama with friends, annoying older siblings, and how to deal with it all. Maggie’s family is Cuban American, and the Spanish that is used lends authenticity while being incorporated into each passage so brilliantly that non-Spanish speakers can easily understand. Additionally, Lovett and Simone’s illustrations elevate the text, giving each page a unique focal point. The illustrations frequently tie the dialogue together in a visually enhancing way. It is a fun read with a lot of tween appeal.
VERDICT A good, very diverse, LBGTQIA+ friendly, first choice for libraries serving middle grade readers.

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